The GlobalDiagnostiX project
The goal of the GlobalDiagnostiX project is to develop, in partnership with local actors, a digital, ultra-robust, and affordable medical x-ray equipment adapted to the needs and constraints of low and middle-income countries. The context of countries in the global South is such that the system must be extremely robust, in particular it has to withstand heat, humidity, dusty environments. Since e. The GlobalDiagnostiX solution shall also withstand power outages and strong fluctuations of the electrical network which are causing up to 1/3 of failures of electrical medical systems. Considering the lack of trained professionals in these countries, the system must be easy and safe to operate and require minimum maintenance. Additional teleradiology services will allow hospitals that do not have radiologists to send X-ray images specialized centers and remote experts that can quickly deliver a remote diagnosis.
Finally and very importantly, the system must be affordable i.e. the total cost of ownership (including purchase, operating, maintenance and repair costs over the whole product lifecycle) has to be radically reduced compared to existing solutions.
For this it is necessary to innovate, not only in technology but also in the methodology, using collaborative projects that build on realities on the ground and that are economically viable. This is a unique project and, if successful, will blaze the trail for a whole new approach to the design of medical devices.
A multidisciplinary alliance
The GlobalDiagnostiX project has resulted in the establishment of an alliance of more than 40 researchers, engineers, and specialists, from all ﬁelds, under the leadership of EssentialTech program.
In Switzerland, the alliance involves several EPFL laboratories, a dozen of HES-SO research groups (from the health, engineering and design ﬁelds), the Paul Scherrer Institute, the EssentialMed Foundation, who initiated the project , the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (SwissTPH) and the CHUV (Lausanne University Hospital).
In developing countries, the project partners include the University Hospital of Yaoundé (CHUY) in Cameroon, the University Research Center on Energy for Health Care (CURES) in Cameroon, and local stakeholders in Africa and Asia